Saving Coyotes’ Lives

Scientist Marc Bekoff advises people to keep coyotes away from their homes.
By Karen B. London PhD, June 2009, Updated June 2021

When coyotes lose their fear of people, their lives are in danger. The more these wild animals come into contact with people, the more likely they are to be shot by authorities who face enormous pressure to prevent people and pets from being hurt by coyotes.

With that in mind, behavioral ecologist Marc Bekoff, who has studied coyotes for decades, urges people to do what they can to keep coyotes away from their homes. This advice applies to people who live out in the country as well as urban and suburban dwellers. Coyotes can exist in all of these areas.

To keep coyotes from being attracted to your residence, Bekoff recommends keeping your pets on leash, covering your garbage and never feeding them. Coyotes can be frightened away with loud sounds such as a whistle, shouting or a can of pennies.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, coyotes are much safer when they are fearful of people. Simple steps such as preventing them from being attracted to areas where people live and by scaring them away if they do approach can be life-saving for coyotes.

Image: Shutterstock

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life